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Illinois Recruiting: Are decisions on the way for Xavier Simpson and Xavier Sneed?

The two Illini targets left Champaign uncommitted, but that may not be the case much longer.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


Four-star point guard Xavier Simpson (Lima, OH), and four-star small forward Xavier Sneed (Florissant, MO) completed their official visits on Sunday and, by all accounts, they both had a fantastic time in Champaign. There are rumors floating around that Simpson will visit Wisconsin this weekend, but everything is still very much up in the air at this point. For Sneed, the plan is to visit Kansas State soon in order to make a comparison. But, really, John Groce should like his chances if this turns into a head-to-head matchup against Bruce Weber.

Four-star center Jayce Johnson (Santa Monica, CA) has eliminated Illinois from his recruitment; the finalists are California, Colorado, Notre Dame, Stanford, Utah. It's looking increasingly likely that the Illini will once again have to turn towards the transfer market to land a big man.

Five-star center Marques Bolden (DeSoto, TX) also cut his list to Alabama, Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, TCU, Wake Forest. Bolden held an Illini offer, but this news is not surprising at all.

Four-star shooting guard Zach Norvell (Chicago, IL) has set up two official visits to Gonzaga and Oregon. There's no word of an Illinois visit yet, but that's not too alarming considering how many times he's been to Champaign already. At this point Norvell is probably option No. 2 on the wing behind Xavier Sneed.

Power forward/center Jeremiah Tilmon (East St. Louis, IL) will take an unofficial visit to Kansas on October 9th for 'Late Night at the Phog'. Tilmon, who's ranked No. 17 nationally by 247Sports, is far and away the No. 1 Illinois prospect in the class of 2017. So naturally we're looking forward to him committing to Bill Self down the road.

Rivals has updated their class of 2016 rankings and six Illinois targets are included in the top-150:

  • No. 59 Charlie Moore
  • No. 87 James Banks
  • No. 88 Xavier Simpson
  • No. 94 Xavier Sneed
  • No. 95 Zach Norvell
  • No. 128 Clevon Brown


Two-star defensive end/tight end Brandon Jones (Columbia, MO) committed to the Illini just two days after the program fired Tim Beckman. Illinois was Jones' only scholarship offer, but he was receiving interest from Iowa and Missouri. You can click here to watch some of his highlights.

Three-star kicker Braxton Pickard (Edmond, OK) has announced that he'll take a visit to Champaign on October 24th for Illinois' Homecoming matchup against Wisconsin. Per Scout, Pickard is ranked as the No. 9 overall kicker in the class of 2016; he holds other offers from Army and Georgia.

Illinois has offered a scholarship to three-star defensive back K.J. Sails (Gibsonton, FL). Sails cut his list to Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Pittsburgh, UCF, Rutgers, South Florida, Cincinnati, Wake Forest, and Georgia in late July, but other schools have continued to send offers his way. Given the coaching situation in Champaign it'd be unrealistic to expect the Illini to be a legitimate contender here, but at the very least it's another name to keep an eye on.

Illinois commit Dominic Thieman (Fort Lauderdale, FL) was on ESPN last week and he didn't disappoint. He totaled just 70 yards on 2 receptions, but one of those catches went for an impressive 30-yard touchdown that included two spin moves.


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